Amid claims by one politician that there are now 2,000 British citizens fighting for the Islamic state, the number fighting against ISIS is slowly growing, including former British Army soldiers fighting a “war on evil” on their own terms, and official special forces patrols playing the enemy at their own game.
Breitbart London reported in August on Mama Kurda, who was believed to be the first ‘Brit’ to go abroad to fight against ISIS, but he has now been joined by many others, from European countries as well as the United States and Canada. Recently deployed pair James Hughes and Jamie Read are former soldiers and Afghan veterans who worked together to found a private military security company, but were been called “mercenaries” by some newspapers for their involvement in Syria, a label they have rejected.
Speaking from a statement on their Facebook page under the noted quote by Edmund Burke that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”, a spokesman for Hughes and Read said: “[we] do not seek recognition nor remuneration. In the last 14 days we have all been harassed by elements of the media, offered money for our stories, asked to divulge information that would put lives at risks.
“We have refused. In return and in their frustration they call us “mercenaries” and print sensationalist articles that are disingenuous and misinformed, lack integrity and damage the reputation of the free press whose remit is to act in the public good.
“This is not a religious war nor is it a racial war, this is a war of good against evil – a magnificent simplicity. And those that are good will continue to fight regardless of what the media portrays us as and regardless of the media attempts to pervert the beliefs that motivate us, and in the end good will win because there are still enough good men who refuse to do nothing”.
While British citizens going abroad to fight for ISIS are liable to prosecution under criminal and terror laws, volunteers fighting against “the Queen’s enemies” may escape trouble upon return to their home country, according to Home Office guidance. They said: “UK law makes provisions to deal with different conflicts in different ways – fighting in a foreign war is not automatically an offence but will depend on the nature of the conflict and the individual’s own activities”.
Not all British passport holders will be so lucky. It was reported over the weekend that two British citizens were killed in Kobani while fighting for Islamist forces, a situation which raises the unusual situation where Brits are on both sides of the front line in a conflict thousands of miles from home.
Although until now the number of British citizens fighting for the Islamic state has officially been said to be around five to six hundred, one politician has broken ranks and suggested that figure is too conservative. Khalid Mahmood, Britain’s first Muslim MP and a former member of the Home Office select committee said: “The authorities say there are 500 British jihadists but the likely figure is at least three to four times that. I think 2,000 is a better estimate. My experience in Birmingham is it is a huge, huge problem.
“The Government does not have significant people at border control. The fact is these jihadists are coming in and going out without almost ever being arrested. We have had hardly any arrests. We have had people coming back in after six months in Syria and they are not being picked up”.
While British citizens fight without the blessing of the government in Syria, a small group of British soldiers on active service are presently playing the Islamic State at it’s own game, using 4×4 all terrain vehicles and sniper rifles to harass Islamist forces.
In his latest propaganda video, British hostage and ISIS spokesman John Cantlie read a script that taunted Western forces for being too slow to react to the Islamic State, who could quickly and cheaply relocate forces to avoid air strikes or special forces missions by staying on the move in cars and trucks. Britain’s elite Special Air Service are now apparently disproving this claim while “putting the fear of God into [the Islamic State]” at the same time.
The squads, who are airlifted in with light quad-bikes, sniper rifles and machine guns conduct intelligence-led strikes killing eight Jihadists a day, which have been carried out almost every day for the past month. An SAS source told the Daily Mail “Our tactics are putting the fear of God into IS as they don’t know where we’re going to strike next and there’s frankly nothing they can do to stop us.
“We’re degrading their morale. They can run and hide if they see planes in the sky but they can’t see or hear us. Using so many snipers takes the fear factor to another level too; the terrorists don’t know what’s happening. They just see their colleagues lying dead in the sand”.